Platform Provides Collaboration Behind Firewall

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The Defense Department’s secure col­lab­o­ra­tive plat­form has expand­ed beyond the Army to include more mem­bers of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, pro­vid­ing behind-the-fire­wall access to a col­lec­tion of secure knowl­edge man­age­ment tools mir­ror­ing pop­u­lar social media plat­forms.
DOD com­mon access card hold­ers can access the mil­Suite enter­prise edi­tion release at https://www.milsuite.mil.

The mil­Suite com­mu­ni­ty con­sists of more than 140,000 indi­vid­u­als from the active ser­vices and DOD’s civil­ian and con­trac­tor work forces ded­i­cat­ed to a more con­nect­ed mil­i­tary, offi­cials said, and the change is expect­ed to broad­en the user base and facil­i­tate joint knowl­edge shar­ing.

“Peo­ple across the Depart­ment of Defense are col­lab­o­rat­ing on pro­grams and efforts in ways that were impos­si­ble pri­or to milSuite’s secure, pro­fes­sion­al net­work­ing capa­bil­i­ties,” said Army Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, pro­gram exec­u­tive offi­cer for Army tac­ti­cal com­mand, con­trol and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in an office known as PEO C3T. “Mil­Suite pro­vides a valu­able oppor­tu­ni­ty to syn­chro­nize efforts across sep­a­rate ser­vices, so we can work as one.”

The secure capa­bil­i­ties include mil­Wi­ki, a liv­ing mil­i­tary ency­clo­pe­dia editable by sub­ject mat­ter experts; mil­Book, a pro­fes­sion­al net­work­ing tool pro­vid­ing com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice; mil­Blog, a place to share and com­ment on inter­nal news and events; and mil­Tube, a video-shar­ing capa­bil­i­ty for the mil­i­tary work force. The tech­nol­o­gy is sim­i­lar to what users are famil­iar with at home: wikis, blogs, social net­work­ing sites such as Face­book, and media-shar­ing sites such as YouTube and Flickr.

U.S. Army Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand has used mil­Wi­ki to pro­mote online col­lab­o­ra­tion of Army field man­u­als, allow­ing the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ences of sol­diers con­duct­ing oper­a­tions to be rapid­ly incor­po­rat­ed into doc­trine.

Users have lever­aged mil­Book to share lessons learned and best prac­tices on enter­prisewide tech­nolo­gies and to bring hun­dreds of peo­ple into com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice cen­tered on chap­lain­cy, med­i­cine, tac­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions and more.

Army Maj. Jerome Scott Lor­ing, who leads a mil­Book group for peo­ple who pro­vide edu­ca­tion­al ser­vices to the Army Nation­al Guard, said the forum has con­nect­ed offi­cers across the 54 U.S. states and ter­ri­to­ries sup­port­ed by the Nation­al Guard Bureau on top­ics such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“We can post an issue, [and] peo­ple can com­ment, dis­cuss [or] raise issues in a secure envi­ron­ment,” Lor­ing said. “You can reach every­one in a way that doesn’t clog up e-mail in-box­es.”

Mil­Suite builds on the Web 2.0 mod­el of com­mu­ni­ty con­tent and par­tic­i­pa­tion to stream­line busi­ness process­es while tap­ping a broad­er knowl­edge base, offi­cials said. The tools are inte­grat­ed with one anoth­er and linked by a Google search appli­ance so users can locate the spe­cif­ic resources they need.

With net­work fire­wall pro­tec­tion, users from all branch­es and orga­ni­za­tions can share offi­cial unclas­si­fied inter­nal infor­ma­tion and engage in dia­logue.

Mil­Suite is assigned to the Mil­Tech Solu­tions Office, a gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion of PEO C3T.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for the way we com­mu­ni­cate across the Depart­ment of Defense,” said Emer­son Keslar, direc­tor of Mil­Tech Solu­tions and one of the archi­tects of the mil­Suite project. “At a time when we are all focused on effi­cien­cies, mil­Suite is one way we can over­come the geo­graph­ic and orga­ni­za­tion­al divi­sions of the mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty to share infor­ma­tion instant­ly.”

(Emi­ly Gee, a Sym­bol­ic Sys­tems intern who sup­ports Mil­Tech Solu­tions, con­tributed to this arti­cle.)

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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